THE RULES OF DISENGAGEMENT

 

March was denial.

April was despair.

May is do-or-die.

As house arrest drags on like a bad joke with no punchline, it’s time to stop sulking and start playing by new rules…

RULE #1: JOIN WITHOUT VIDEO

Personal question…

On a scale of one to ten, how attractive are you?

Humans tend to overestimate their aesthetic appeal, and if you’ve ever seen a plump Three strutting around like a sizzling Ten, well — now you know why.

Few enjoy facing the ugliness of their own truth, and fewer enjoy facing the truth of their own ugliness. But when the Elephant In The Zoom bears your legal name beneath it, there’s just no denying the unflattering reality. (Insert belching emoji here.)

If you delight in discovering new layers of chin, bulging profusely from unbeknownst places — by all means, join with video. Otherwise, I’d recommend hiding behind that most protective of masks: the profile pic.

RULE #2: FILE FOR PARENTAL BANKRUPTCY

I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret.

Nobody likes parenting.

Parent-hood, the noun, is wonderful.

Parent-ing, the verb, is miserable.

Children are a handful.

(Which is code for friggin animals.)

Encaged kids = enraged parents = deranged families.

Rest assured, we’re all flunking this exam.

So don’t hate yourself for hating them.

Hate yourself for having them.

RULE #3: DODGE THE DRIVE BY AFFAIR

Cute in theory, train wreck in reality, the “Car Mitzvah” feels more like bumper cars bottlenecking through an over-clogged artery than a celebratory tribute to the splendors of pubescence.

The overdressed hosts wave awkwardly like royals on exhibit, decorated in lawn signage and propped like ornaments, while the zigzag pileup of motorized guests exchange dirty looks, playing chicken with their fenders.

The only way out is through.

But the only way through is corked by balloon-studded windshields.

Roll down the window, and smile for the album.

RULE #4: ESCAPE THE BABYSITTER

Lately our babysitter doubles as a playdate, triples as an algebra tutor, and quadruples as a Rabbi, while I struggle to single as a Disney+ device activator.

Which makes for some sticky dynamics.

She’s long suspected that I do nothing all day, but now she knows it, and I know she knows it. Her hypothesis has been confirmed, and her findings published in the Journal of WTF.

I spend my day playing a strategic game of musical chairs, as each room she enters becomes the one I escape. I tiptoe away, like an elusive fugitive — out of sight, out of mind, out of service, out of guilt. Daddy needs his rest.

RULE #5: NO HE DOESN’T

The last thing daddy needs is his rest.

The Elephant in the Zoom needs to get off his ass.

The balking head is murky swampland, the walking head a vibrant spring. Exercise is like therapy (but with tangible results).

It’s easier to bitch and moan about the things I can’t control than it is to move the needle on the things I actually can. I’ve spent most of my life perfecting the former while neglecting the latter, and I can tell you from experience, it’s a recipe for terminal assholism.

If March was denial, and April despair, May is do-or-die; adapt and repair.

I’ll never make this right by just insisting that it’s wrong…

And maybe that’s the punchline I’ve been missing all along.